Alternative Style Icons: Siouxsie Sioux

She became the icon of Goth girls everywhere, a mantle she didn’t accept or relish, but nonetheless Siouxsie Sioux is synonymous with goth style, even being referred to as the ‘godmother of Goth’.

From her beginnings within the world of Punk, and as part of the of the ‘Bromley Contingent’ (an also unwanted label), Sioux was a pioneer of the emerging new Gothic style, which in the beginning was basically Punk with a dark twist, all taking place in the infamous club night, The Batcave. Opening in 1982 in Soho, London within the Gargoyle club, it would go on to foster one of the most resilient subcultural aesthetics, with Sioux’s look being one of the most influential. This emerging scene was a bricolage merging elements of Punk, New Romantic and even Glam and New Wave. Its inspiration was still as rebellious as Punk but was darker and included more wide-ranging sources of inspiration like horror movies, fetish, gothic literature and even mythology.

While there were many influential Goth aesthetic pioneers like Jonny Slut of Specimen, or King of the Goths Robert Smith, nobody had a bigger and more long-lasting influence than Siouxsie Sioux. So, what is this iconic style that influenced a plethora of raven-haired copycats?


You can’t really talk about Siouxsie Sioux or Goth in general without talking about hair; ultimately the idea here is, the bigger the better. She was known for her jet-black hair, it was in pretty typical Punk and Goth style: backcombed within an inch of its life.

Hairspray really is your best friend if you want to recreate with godmother of Goths hair-do. Spiked and wild, Sioux’s silhouette was a (black) mass of hair and goes hand-in-hand with her iconic look.


Even more notorious than her hair had to be her makeup, probably because it was pretty unique. Although the Proto-Goth, post punk styles had makeup looks a-plenty, Sioux was actually pretty original. Drawing inspiration from Egyptian makeup looks and general Egyptian iconography, symbols like the Eye of Horus were used as guidelines for her infamous geometric bold eye liner look.

Nowadays we think people over draw their eyebrows? Sioux was the Queen of extreme eyebrows. Bold black lines around her deep-seated eyes was the signature Sioux look, pared with the deathly pale skin tone, cut cheekbones and bold red lip.

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When considering Siouxsie Sioux’s style you must consider Goth and Punk subcultures respectively. A hugely innovative time period for fashion, this was an era when individuals, more so than ever before, were breaking down old style barriers and reconstructing out of the shards something new and original. With the great sartorial influencers like Vivienne Westwood, Sioux embodied that DIY Punk spirit of raw, customised ensembles but given a bit of a dark makeover. Sioux’s proto-goth look, like punk, played with gender roles (or more appropriately, stereotypes), combining, layering boxy, oversized cuts of traditionally masculine clothes like men’s jackets with contrasting ultra-feminine stockings and tight fighting skirts and dresses, with fishnets and over the knee boots, leather jackets and bondage gear, and accessorising with studded leather chokers and silver jewellery, favouring religious or mythological iconography like Ankhs and crucifixes.

Her vamp style became the original Goth look, but sadly, these traditional looks would most often go overlooked in the more modern Gothic styles. Her vamp style became the first Goth uniform, but sadly, this traditional style gets lost in the shuffle when compared to the modern goth aesthetic. While for the subculture of Goth to fully develop it’s understandable that it would strive to distinguish itself from Punk, Siouxsie Sioux’s look with always be a significant moment within that development, and she will always be the ‘godmother of goth’.

*Cover image courtesy of [](Siouxse Sioux)*

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